Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Look Back: Vintage Yard, A Vintage-Filled Shop and Cafe in Okinawa, Japan

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I took thousands of photos while visiting Okinawa, Japan a few years back. This 2 week trip was one of the first things I did after leaving the day job and I'll always remember it fondly. I thought I'd lost all of my photos with a computer crash but what ecstatic to rediscover them lately. Let's celebrate with one of my favorite stops during my trip.


I took over 100 photos and took over an hour of my host's time browsing "Vintage Yard", a peaceful vintage shop and cafe my friend we found driving back from tourist attractions in Okinawa's lush, winding mountains. It was isolated, peaceful, and gorgeously curated with hundreds of vintage pieces. Part cafe (with sweet sleepy dogs to pet, too!), vintage shop, and relaxing garden it's one my favorite memories from Japan.


Afterwards we went back to town and had ramen! Oh damn, I miss being able to stop and get delicious Japanese food and tea anywhere. I'll be back Japan, I'm saving up my pennies to return to you!
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wake Up and Live: A Story From My Marketing Nadir + Indie Business Help For You

I learned so much during my three years as a marketer: detailed SEO strategies, search algorithm theories, navigating Google's tricky "pay per click" campaigns, and more in the world of web marketing and writing. My role at that start-up constantly evolved, I was grew as the company did. My first move up the ladder was being relocated to a generous shared-office, I spontaneously beamed a huge smile looking at our bright new space. Illuminated with natural light by a mammoth window; it represented unlimited opportunity. I didn't know at the time the most important lesson I'd leave this company with would be how to Wake Up and Live.


Toward the end of my tenure I was deeply unsatisfied. My boss (company present) and I couldn't get along. I was stretched like a taut cord, nearing a breaking point. Our arguments were making my office mates antsy. Remember being yelled at by a parent in public? Dredge up that look onlookers gave, thick with second-hand-embarrassment and pity. I got used to seeing that expression on my office mate's faces after every fruitless morning meeting. One of my office mates was a movie director/videographer, we bonded. Once considered for academy awards and on staff to film our reality show pilot, he was middle-aged, easy-going and baffled by the way our business operated. "The way [boss] treats you makes me very...uncomfortable. You can't beat creativity out of a person," he once consoled after a boss-confrontation that left me silent and sullen.

Edit: Found a photo of my side of that first light-filled office, when my job was nothing but opportunities. I was later moved back to a dark corner with two other co-workers as the office expanded.

I could sense our videographer's imminent departure when my third birthday I'd celebrate as a marketer came. I had Thrift Core on my computer screen that morning, it was glowing in our dark office. He leaned in and said, "My birthday present to you is advice. Quit. What you do there," he waved at the computer monitor, "is incredible. How old are you? 24? Get out there with your work!" He said he'd love to collaborate on future videos. He escaped soon after for projects devoid of sabotaging, neurotic supervision and left a hardcover vintage book, "Wake Up and Live" by Dorothea Brande on his desk. I took it with months later when Thrift Core and freelance PR jobs had grown enough to sustain me.

I think of that day from time-to-time feeling humbled that an accomplished director (he's met some of my favorites, like Thriller director John Landis) with feature films under his belt gave me that spark of encouragement. This is a guy who fled home as a teen for Hollywood, working his way up to ranks. He still supports his family comfortably with his two Canon 5D Mark II SLRs and determination. Now here I am still "living the dream" of self-employment, too. It's hard and frustrating, you work longer hours, but the liberation of not answering to a boss and building my own vision can't be beat.

This is my monthly "Call for Clients" post where I remind you of the small business design, marketing and promoting services I offer. I wanted to lead in with an honest story. I vividly remember the days working without passion, I'll never go back. I'm compelled to help others reach the same goal. I know where my talents lie now, and helping others streamline their goals, promote their business, and design their sites is one of them. I love putting the skills I learned in marketing to use for indie businesses. Please e-mail me if you'd like to advertise on Thrift Core or work with me on streamlining your dream. (More info here.). I'd love to help you take those steps to present yourself as a pro to the world and get earning- - without relying on "The Man."

/Comments Off but e-mail me or send Instagram/Facebook/Twitter messages if you have any questions or comments at all.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What Annoys the Hell out of You on Other Blogs? Let's Get Frank & Troubleshoot

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You're an experienced blog-hopper and web-browser, I'm curious, what annoys the hell out of you on blogs you read? I'm on a blog-improvement bender and I want to know what you love to see on websites you read and what you hate. Here are my peeves with improvement tips for each:


1. Cluttered: A layout cannot be "too simple". Sidebar should not exceed content on page.
2. Pop-Ups: Kill it with fire! Sponsored posts/side bar ads are less obnoxious.
3. No E-mail: I often skip potential collaborators because there's no way to contact them!
4. Slow Load: Save most images as web-friendly .jpg and limit the amount of posts per page.
5. Hunting: Social media/subpage/shop links should be near the top of the page. No hunting necessary.

Thrift Core Changes: Behind-the-scenes between reselling stuff I'm  1) going through hundreds of pages in my archives to turn them into a lists for easy browsing 2) brainstorming a new simple layout and 3) Trying to schedule more time for DIYs and well-researched posts.

Questions for you, HALP! How you felt about those "click to read more" layouts where you have to click a link to read the rest of a post? It would allow me to write longer/more picture-heavy posts without affecting Thrift Core's load-time. Do you want more long posts or the current healthy mix? Again, open to guest posts, collabs, and suggestions. (Just e-mail.)

Let's discuss in the comments, what do the best blogs have? What do the worst ones have? Be brutally honest, it's the best way to improve.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Thrift Haul: Pound Store and Free Vintage Finds on The Cheap. Cases, Mugs & More.

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'Twas another light hunting week for me. I hit up the nearby Goodwill by-the-pound store, where you dig through bins of wares assorted by type and buy the items at a set rate per pound, and did little else. I need to do that more often, my non-thrifter friends cringe as I describe competitively digging through dirty bins filled with random craziness- but admire the outfits I put together from it for pennies on the dollar! Risk rewards the brave! (And ran out of time to photograph, oops, next time!) Here are the other random finds:


This is the second time I found an amazing 1960-70s retro travel bag in great shape at the pound store. HOW did it get by so many shoppers before my vulture eye spotted it? On Etsy

I also have a ton of free book finds to catch-up on. I was out and about and saw a Moving Sale sign on a rainy day and do what I always do- swiftly derail my plans and ignore any schedule to take a peek. I pulled up the large condominium and was offered everything in the garage for free!

While picking through the goods and pondering why the hell a condo is sharing one garage I was informed the large structure was ONE. FAMILY'S. HOME. It's been too long since I've associated with anyone but paupers like myself, I forgot homes came that size. I'll have to share more of my Free McMansion finds next week. For now a few favs, I really love the additional Hardy Boys books I found for my collection. And now that I think about it, my original ones were given to me for free from another Rich-People-House-Yard-Sale I stopped at on the way to Vilano Beach. I adore these books and use them and photo-props all the time. The Mystery of the Chinese Junk is particularly hilarious. What the hell is that on the front of the ship!? PFFT!


McMansion family had a couple of boys who'd outgrown books an clothes so I scooped 'em all up. (The clothing was swiftly given to my three nephews, adult-sized ones to my boyfriend, before I could take photos.)


I sold some of the books to the local used book store, some are on Etsy here, here, and here (more to list still) and others will be kept to scan for art prints. I have hundreds of original vintage book pages to get online as soon as possible!


This beautiful blowdryer case was another lucky pound store find. Super cute to use as a storage or travel case, it's chilling on Etsy.


Holy crap, me and my mugs, make it stop! I have to stop picking these damn things up, but Care Bears is a bit safer. It's on Etsy and eBay waiting for a new home.


And how about these stunning white milk glass vases? Such a fun instant collection, great home display. They're on Etsy.


Anyone have an ID on these mod mugs? Love them, I love to use clear mugs for fancy tea infusions so you can admire the color. On Etsy.


And to round out my damned cup obsession (Gotta stop, but they're so cheap and plentiful here. No more, no mas! My expedit unit explodes with mugs!) I couldn't resist this awesome retro striped tumbler set. It goes perfectly with my primary/secondary color love and blocky 80s robot obsession. On Etsy.


Had to get this groovy Nasa bag, bought me back to simple times looking through telescopes after school in Astronomy club. And the Nasa logo os gorgeous. 2001 is certainly not vintage but bah! Beautiful bag. It's in my Southern Crossing Antique Mall booth and if no one buys it I'll put my name on it and wear it with pride!

Many more vintage find and things to come, for now it's 1:05AM, I have a 9AM shift, time will myself to sleep. Do let me know if you found anything awesome this weekend! Thank you all who shared tips for transition to eBay last week, still working on switching over. I want to add as many items as possible this week and will update on the process. Trying to clear all the vintage outta this apartment!

Linked to: [Nifty Thrifty] [Thrifter|Maker|Fixer] [Sir Thrift a Lot]
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reader Collections: Liz's Retro Tin Robot Collection and Simpsons Cartoon Inspiration


When Liz told me we have the same retro robot toy (also a pencil sharpener) I urged her to let me see her whole collection. It's the stuff of dreams, as you know I'm robot-obsessed and aspire to such greatness in my own home. She also told me a bit about her collection and vintage obsession genesis:

Do you remember that episode of “The Simpsons” where John Waters guest starred? He didn’t play himself – he was the voice of an antiques dealer, who shocked Homer by being gay, drove a rockin’ Cadillac, and gave out cactus candy. In the end, he saved Homer and Bart from a hunting trip gone wrong by using a Japanese Santa Claus robot to scare off angry deer (as you do). Clearly I remember it. That episode made a big impression on me back in ’97 and, as a direct result, I have a wall shelf full of robot toys hanging in my living room.
I do not consider myself a real collector whatsoever. For one thing, none of these are antique or valuable. Also, I am not continually on the lookout for more robots. I don’t give them much thought, actually. I am not knowledgeable on the subject; I just think they look cool. Aesthetically, it doesn’t get much better than toy robots, if you ask me. I’ve picked them up over the years, but many have been received as thoughtful gifts. Two here are actually things I made in a ceramics class and one is secretly a little clock. There is a toy pterodactyl included for no good reason, other than that it is awesome. The shelf itself I picked up at an estate sale for $30, which I could not be happier about. I don’t know what the side pockets are supposed to be for (plants?) but they work great for storing my Morrissey saint candles. If you’re stumped on decorating ideas, I heartedly recommend toy robots and pictures of Morrissey. Both have worked out pretty well for me, I think.   
I love her Simpsons story, that's one of my, if not my favorite episodes and I didn't even remember that the character was an antiques dealer! I know my blog and not a Simpson's episode resulted in my life as a retro seller but maybe this episode could have planted the most subconscious of seeds? Curious and curiouser! Thank you for sharing your collection Liz!

Tell me your story: I want to see your home, collections, know about your creative life, know about what it's like in your part of world, tell your thrifting adventures, this isn't just my blog, it's yours. Take ownership and please do send me your collection/thrifters around the world/etc. stories. Thanks!

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Friday, February 21, 2014

A Muse: IKEA Showroom Exploration Inspiration. Organization Ideas Aplenty.

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If photos of an IKEA showroom are mundane to you, consider yourself lucky! Some of us have to drive hours to experience one, like a pilgrimage to colorful inexpensive furniture shangri-la. I recently made the journey to purchase my life-saving merchandise-storing expedit unit and love to explore IKEA for storage idea solutions. Until somehow magically in the future my city's population grows to support one I'll console myself with the fact that not having one near me forces me to be creative and find unique pieces second-hand.


For anyone who's still an IKEA virgin, the store's insidiously brilliant floor plan is designed as such; you take an escalator upstairs when you first enter and explore a massive "showroom" divided into little living room/dining room/bathroom/bedroom/craft room/office and kitchen vignettes where everything is staged using their furniture to paint the picture if your mind of how gorgeous your home could be if you bought something. A kiosk with a giant shopping bag, map, pencil, and paper measurer is handy before you enter so you can write which pieces you want and measure to ensure it fits in your home.


Granted these rooms are designed by pros and the chances of your home looking as gloriously balanced are slim unless you've got an eye for it, I still love to explore for ideas. It gives me an idea of what to keep an eye out for while I'm thrifting for furniture for my apartment or pieces to sell.


European houses (IKEA started in Sweden before it unhinged its jaw and swallowed the world like an evil, greedy snake) are much smaller than American ones, often devoid of closets. This gives IKEA the edge on any American retailer I've visited on the sheer diversity of attractive storage solutions. An artist/crafter/hoarder/indie business owner's dream. I could hunt down and decoupage 200 shoe boxes for "free" but time is money...and look, they're right there! Beckoning!


The other selling point for IKEA is the repo-mid century modern style, which mixes perfectly with authentic finds for interior design projects. When you strive for years to find the real thing, IKEA can fit the bill. I'm looking for chairs (possibly a table?) like that because they're kitty-proof for my Yuko. My current chairs stubbornly retain her fur.


So clever how the designers carve so many different useful niches in a tiny amount of square footage. Tis one has a living room, office, library, home entertainment center, dammit you're good, IKEA.


My expedit unit in action (far right) with the awesome attachable work table I could return for one day. IKEA furniture is very adaptable, many with the ability to come back for ad-ons (casters, table, glass front doors, etc.) to completely change its purpose.


I -really- like that headboard. Exploring IKEA gives me ideas of what to -make-, too. Expect a DIY on some IKEA/Mid Century Modern inspired bedside tables soon. May attempt this awesome headboard someday, love how it's a bedside table/keepsake shelf/focal piece in-one.


Above is the night stand in question. We can do that! Gentleman, we can re-build it. Stronger, faster...


I love their office/retail space solutions too. Would love glass front cases like this for displays in a future shop.


I always leave with at least 40 photos taken and a lot of inspiration for interior design, organization, business planning (their plan, so brilliant, so evil- I LOVE it), layout, and making ideas. Nope, I swear, not paid to endorse this place, (HA, like they'd need my endorsement) just a place I enjoying going for inspiration once a year or so. At least I have plenty of photos to look back on until I return someday.


Edit: Forgot to add this hilarious Yuko shot. After the two hour drive home I laid my new IKEA bathroom rug on the floor and Yuko immediately happily rolled all over it. She still prefers the rug to the cat bed we made her, as cats will do.
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